You want to be a better public speaker. Maybe it’s to help you provide clearer leadership to your team or to better engage with your customers. Or, maybe it’s to take advantage of a moment in the spotlight to advance your career.
So, you’ve made the choice to improve your performance. Now what? I believe careful assessment, both self-assessment and what’s provided by a professional speech coach, is necessary for speakers to change their perspective, change their expectations, and in the end, change the results achieved from every speaking opportunity.
During my years of speech consulting, I’ve fine-tuned a set of 10 criteria to help my clients set realistic goals and then measure their progress. It begins with these five foundational criteria of public speaking:
1. Knowledge of key public speaking concepts
- How speeches are unique
- Definition of a successful speech
- The role of the audience
2. Writing of meaningful content
- Clarifying purpose and objectives
- Organizing messages and supporting data, arguments and stories
- Scripting or speaker notes
3. Proper use of media
- Making it meaningful
- Using imagery
- Aspiring to be art
4. Natural on-stage presence and movement
- Tempo and pace
- Rhythm and dynamics
- Working with teleprompters or confidence monitors
5. A commitment to continuous improvement
- Your responsibility as a speaker
- Choosing to improve your performance
- The 5 Steps to Improved Speaking Performance
Mastery of these criteria is attainable, especially with the help of a speech coach. But, this is only just the beginning. Consistently delivering great speeches and presentations requires much, much more. You have to raise your expectations. You have to dig deeper and take bigger chances.
This requires a different, more expansive set of criteria that helps you take your speeches and presentations to the next level. These are:
6. Building confidence
- In your beliefs, ideas and messages
- In your abilities
- In your audience
7. Striving for clarity
- Of your purpose and vision
- Of your messages and conclusions
- Efficient use of the right words
8. Engaging your audience
- Empathy and perspective
- Connecting intellectually and emotionally
- Making it a conversation
9. Creating experiences
- Being “present” and staying in the moment
- Using dramatic structure
- Speaking in pictures and sounds
10. Preparing effectively
- Constructive brainstorming
- Fearless editing
- Focused rehearsal
Use of these more advanced criteria provides an opportunity for top-level speech consulting to take place, during which a speech coach helps you push boundaries and differentiate yourself by creating unique and meaningful experiences.
It’s important to remember that all 10 criteria apply to every type of speaking opportunity, from keynote speeches on a big stage to new business presentations in a conference room. They are both a guide and a means to assess performance going forward—by speakers and speech coaches alike.
How do you measure the success of your own speeches and presentations?